Quad 8-Tracks Q8
A reader wondered as to the best method of identifying a quadraphonic 8-track tape. The easiest method for me is the back label pasted on the cartridge. Only two “sides” of songs are listed instead of the stereo 8-track’s 4 “sides”.
There is also a slot in the cartridge to “inform” the tape player that the 8-track is a quad tape. I sold all my 8-track tapes so am unable to take a picture to show you but some Web searching may lead to a picture.
My memory hints to me that there is another identification method but I am unsure and I doubt my aging brain with rusty synapses will reach way back into those dusty recesses of a once sub-par mind that is now sub-sub-sub-par.
Old age sucks.
***End of Update***
Quad 8-tracks had the same limitations the stereo versions had. The worst being the tendency to be “eaten.” Gulp. Remember those glorious days of cruising down the road and seeing the tangled mess of tape blowing in the breeze? There goes another dead 8-track.
While home units had better specifications and a generally ‘cleaner’ sound output than quad players made for cars/trucks, the sound was not as good as a well-made vinyl record. But hey. Don’t let the drawbacks getcha down. The discrete quad sound WAS there, and on a good unit, the tape hiss, wow/flutter etc. was minimalized. Also, it’s easier to find quad 8-tracks than reel-to-reel quad tapes.
Even still-sealed 8-track cartridges are highly prone to jamming and being “eaten.” It’s best to record your quad 8-tracks onto quad reel-to-reel tape since 8-tracks can ‘die’ at any time.
A standard stereo 8-track player can not properly play a quad tape while most quad 8 players were capable of playing stereo cartridges.
The RCA company had to change the name of their quad tapes from “Quad-8” to “Q-8” after the Quad CO. of England claimed trademark infringement.
Buy a Ford and be Adored…………………
As late as 1979, the Ford Motor Company offered an optional quadraphonic in-car 8-track player. I’d rather have it in a Plymouth GTX with a 440 6-pak and a 4-speed, a 4:10 rear end, and an air-grabber hood scoop. Yeah !!!!!!!! Vrooooom!!!!!!
A common complaint during quads’ early years was a lack of software. There was plenty of hardware to be found (though not with the highest-quality decoders & demodulators) but record companies were rather slow in releasing quad records & tapes. On the whole, quad 8-track tapes were released quicker and in a larger variety than vinyl quad. A fairly large amount of quad released on 8-track was NOT released on vinyl while almost all vinyl quad was also available on 8-track. Wonder why????
Around 200 different quad 8-tracks were available in mid 1972 while approximately 50 reel-to-reel quad tapes could be found.
True discrete quad comes from 4-channel tape. Discrete quad is basically a quad sound with no, or extremely little bleed-over between channels. All quad from records had some cross-channel blending.
When assembled at the factory, quad 8-tracks had a lubricant placed on the tape so it would slide smoothly on and off the center reel. With time, this lubricant was lost, thus making the tape prone to jamming and getting “eaten.” I’ve never heard of a “spray on” aerosol to restore the slipperiness. Seems there should be some sort of aftermarket consumer product to allow those rare quad 8-tracks to stay alive awhile longer
Whoops!!!! I may be wrong about the lubricant or lack thereof being a cause of the 8-track eaties !!
Regarding a comment I made on Q8’s (quad 8-tracks) this excellent advice is presented by an expert on the subject: the one, the only: Krnewman !!!!!! Thanks for sharing this !!!!!!!
1. With proper care and maintenance of both tapes and players, 8-tracks need NEVER jam or get eaten. But they do require care and maintenance. Without that, they will get eaten sometimes. Basically all it comes down to is: proper lube in the two posts for the pinch roller and spool. Fresh springy pads (I recommend Win-Gibs as the best), and making sure the sensing foil splice is strong by checking it and replacing/reinforcing, as necessary. For the machine, it needs to be kept clean. That’s all there is to it.
2. 8-track tape lubrication: specially lubricated on both sides, brittle tape is extremely rare in 8-tracks. I’ve repaired enormous number of tapes and would put loss of lubrication at around 1 in a 1000. Very rare, unlike with old reel tapes, where brittleness is a common problem. My opinion: don’t worry about tape lubrication with 8-tracks. Worry about properly lubricating the two posts inside the cartridge, for the pinch roller and spool; if they drag the spool can develop tension problems causing the tape to drag, slip, stop, or even break.
Excellent advice. With no more quad 8-tracks being made ( at least commercially ), we have to take care of the ones we have. I have seen Krnewman offering Q8s on the http://www.ebay.com auction site. He guarantees his product and has some of the best/funniest written descriptions of his products I’ve ever seen.